Georgia Brown's

D.C. restaurant has stranded students covered with its holiday buffet

by Sarah Ransbottom

Georgia Brown's
950 15th St. N.W. (between I and K streets)
393-4499
www.gbrowns.com

Are you staying in the District for Thanksgiving? Are images of turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce dancing through your head? Is your only pilgrimage going to be to J Street, only to find everything appetizing closed? Well, stop your sulking, because you actually have something to be thankful for - Georgia Brown's, where the gourmet country cuisine will take you down South.

Georgia Brown's, a restaurant known for its fusion of country favorites with gourmet preparation and presentation, is currently serving a special menu from 1 to 7 p.m. that includes all the holiday staples, with a few southern twists you won't forget. There are even alternatives for the adamant turkey haters. Either way, get ready for a delicious four-course meal that will transport you to the "low country."

Leave the hillbilly and redneck jokes at the door - this is not the country kitchen you might be picturing. The atmosphere at Georgia Brown's is trendy, with golden lighting and artistic decoration. The food also has a trendy twist - fried chicken is marinated in rich buttermilk and served with "pan" gravy, which tastes great and contributes to the unique plate presentation.

But turkey is the name of the game, and Georgia Brown's does not disappoint. In true southern fashion, your meal will start with fried green tomatoes, a surprisingly delicious appetizer with a smooth herb cream cheese inside. The next course is your choice of Charleston She Crab soup or a house salad, which is covered with bleu cheese and spiced peanuts.

Strangely enough, the main attraction is the buffet of side dishes, including candied yams, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, "Down-home" green beans and, of course, collard greens and minted peas with pearl onions. Stock up on everything, because it's all worth a try. For your entr?e, you have a choice of Southern fried or traditional turkey, sugar-and-spice-rubbed pork loin or, for the truly un-traditional Thanksgiving meal, grilled salmon. Each dish comes with its own specific side dishes, so be prepared for second and third helpings.

To cleanse your palate there are several traditional southern desserts, which, surprisingly, aren't included in the buffet. Try the pumpkin cr?me brul?e, a dish you won't find anywhere else.

What's the catch? As with the delicious brunch that Georgia Brown's serves, drinks aren't included in the price. At $35.95 for the meal and about $9 for any alcoholic beverage, your bill grows quickly. But it's Thanksgiving - you've saved yourself money by not buying that plane ticket, so indulge. Be sure to make a reservation, though, because Georgia Brown's books up well in advance.

If you can't make it for dinner, try to get reservations for Sunday brunch. The spread is even larger and there is a live jazz ensemble highlighting the trendy atmosphere. To the standard bacon, sausage, biscuits and fruit, Georgia Brown's adds southern favorites such as grits and ham. The French toast is good, but the real treat is the pecan-filled syrup. But your trip to the buffet isn't complete without an omelet made to order and a trip to the dessert buffet for some incredible peach cobbler.

Like a good southern grandmother, Georgia Brown's makes entirely too much food and tries to get you to eat as much as possible before sending you home with an overflowing doggy bag. For Thanksgiving dinner or Sunday brunch, you can't find a better place for such an abundance of mouth-watering food than Georgia Brown's.

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